BOSTON — Jaroslav Halak made 24 saves and the Bruins converted consecutive second-period power plays on Thursday, leading to a 3-1 victory over the Ducks at TD Garden.
David Krejci closed the Bruins’ scoring in the third period with his seventh goal of the season and 600th career point, as the B’s beat the Ducks for the first time in 10 games (1-8-1).
Halak, 8-6-1 lifetime (2.80 goals-against average, .899 saves percentage) against the Ducks before Thursday and coming off Monday’s 22-save, 4-0 shutout, started for the second straight game for the first time since Rask took a two-game leave of absence in early November. Rask had 1-6-1, 3.62, .865 career marks against the Ducks.
Josh Mahura ended Halak’s bid for a second straight shutout with 4:16 remaining.
The Bruins, who had two games off following Monday’s 4-0 win at Montreal, opened a stretch of three games in four nights that will take them to a three-day Christmas break. The Ducks, who had winning streaks of four games overall and six on the road snapped by Tuesday’s last-minute loss to the Rangers, played the last of five straight away games against Eastern teams before the holiday break.
Neither Halak nor John Gibson had much to do in the first period, in which the B’s held an 8-7 edge in shots. Their best chance came in the dying seconds, when Joakim Nordstrom found Colby Cave at the far post with a long, backhand pass, but Gibson got his right pad over in time to stop it. Halak’s biggest challenge in the first period came during an early Ducks power play, when a dumped-in puck caromed off the corner glass and into his crease. Halak gloved it, set it in front of him, and cleared it the length of the ice.
The Bruins found some energy, and cashed in two power plays, in the second period. Early chances were generated by the rejuvenated fourth line of Sean Kuraly, Noel Acciari and Chris Wagner, and Krug forced Gibson to make a tough stop on a shot from above the left circle shortly thereafter. Brandon Carlo’s follow-up blast missed the net.
David Pastrnak drew an interference penalty against Hampus Lindholm (possibly with a little embellishment) that put the B’s on the power play at 7:44, and then scored the game’s first goal at 8:19. David Backes, who won the faceoff to start the power play, then kept the puck alive in the slot long enough for Krug to collect it and whip a no-look pass from the right circle to the left. Pastrnak one-timed it past Gibson’s blocker for his 22nd goal of the season.
It took another 10 minutes for the B’s to extend the lead, again on the power play. Seven seconds after Andrew Cogliano entered the box for slashing Brad Marchand, Backes controlled the faceoff, Pastrnak got it to Marchand, and Marchand found Krug near the bottom of the right circle for a goal from the weak side.
Between goals, Halak made his biggest saves. He made a tremendous glove save on Brandon Montour, who had a point-blank chance off Ryan Getzlaf’s pass from the high slot, then made back-to-back stops against Pontus Aberg and Ondrej Kase, both just off the crease after Getzlaf intercepted a pass at center ice to start a transition rush